Here’s some actual artistic activism. Indian filmmaker Parvez Sharma’s releasing his examination of gay Muslims, Jihad for Love. Rather than using the more bellicose of jihad’s multiple meanings – all of which invoke “struggle” – Sharma’s looking at the “internal struggle” happening within gay Muslims in India, South Africa, Pakistan and Egypt.
Of his ground breaking project, Sharma (pictured) says:
This film is a remarkable opportunity to change consciousness. The next few years are going to see me and the characters in this film, engaged in discussions, using the film as a platform and as a door into opening people’s minds, into opening people’s hearts.
I am just tired of people saying that Islam and homosexuality don’t go together and that there are no gay and lesbian Muslims. I don’t believe that, I have taken my camera into these communities and I have documented these lives for the last six years.
Six years? That’s far longer than it takes to allegedly burn an antique Q’uran and, we think, far more admirable.
Of the many people Sharma spoke with, the most shocking must be Imam Mohsin Hendricks of South Africa. A religious leader, Mohsin came out of the closet expecting a world of pain. Surprisingly, he found Sharma’s welcoming cameras, instead. And he’s thankful for the opportunity to open people’s eyes, “For me it’s important to talk about it at this point because some people are being alienated and ostracized from communities.” Even the gay ones…